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The Constant Gardener (2005) - movie overview

The Constant Gardener (2005)

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(157 votes)
Critic Rating
(7 reviews)
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Plot Description
Shooting Locations

Original title: Constant Gardener, The

Release Date
• USA: Sep 2, 2005
DVD Release Date
• R1: Jan 10, 2006

Budget GBP 15,000,000
BoxOffice: $33.6M

Official Website:
The Constant Gardener Website

MPAA Rating
Rated R for language, some violent images and sexual content/nudity.

Running Time
2 hours, 9 minutes

Country Germany, UK

Production Companies
Potboiler Productions, Epsilon Motion Pictures, Scion Films Limited, UK Film Council, Vierte Babelsberg Film

Studio Focus Features

More info on

Other Titles
• The Constant Gardener (2005)

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Genre: Thriller, Drama, Murder

Tagline: Love. At any cost.

Plot: In a remote area of Northern Kenya, the region's most dedicated activist, the brilliant and passionate Tessa Quayle (Rachel Weisz), has been found brutally murdered. Tessa's traveling companion, a local doctor, appears to have fled the scene, and the evidence points to a crime of passion. Sandy Woodrow (Danny Huston), Sir Bernard Pellegrin (Bill Nighy), and the other members of the British High Commission assume that Tessa's widower, their mild-mannered and unambitious colleague Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes), will leave the matter to their discretion. They could not be more wrong...

The career diplomat's equilibrium has been exploded by the loss of the woman he was deeply devoted to. They were opposites whose attraction sustained a marriage, the memories of which now spur Justin to take decisive action for the first time in his life and diplomatic career. Haunted by remorse and jarred by rumors of his wife's infidelities, Justin surprises himself by plunging headlong into a dangerous odyssey. Determined to clear his wife's name and "finish what she started," Justin embarks on a crash course to learn about the pharmaceutical industry, whose crimes Tessa was on the verge of uncovering, and journeys across two continents in search of the truth. His eyes are soon opened

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 External Reviews
external link"The Constant Gardener" begins with a strong, angry story, and peoples it with actors who let it happen to them, instead of rushing ahead to check off the surprises. 4/4

external linkFiennes and Weisz almost save this film from being a confused effort, but it still is just that. C+
--Lee Tistaert (Lee's Movie Info)

external linkHelmer Meirelles and his behind the camera crew beautifully compliment the richly talented cast. Cinematography, by Cesar Charlone, is stunning with its lush look at the Kenyan landscape and the ravaging depiction of that nation’s shantytown poor. “The Constant Gardener” is a finely crafted, mentally challenging work that is a big cut above the usual thriller or conspiracy theory. I give it a B+. B+,A-
--Robin and Laura Clifford

external linkThe path takes him to a melancholy but somehow hopeful place not uncommon in le Carre's stories, where some justice gets done and a whole lot of wrong remains unpunished, yet love somehow still triumphs.
-- (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

external linkAfter a summer of mostly second-rate movies, the fall movie season gets off to an early start today (Wednesday) with the release of the movie version of John le Carré's The Constant Gardener... 4.5/5
-- (

external linkEnraged you may well be by the end of The Constant Gardener; you're just as likely to wonder what any one person can possibly do in the face of what it delineates.
--MaryAnn Johanson

external linkThe problem isn’t one of performances, however, but one of condescension. In Meirelles’ faulty equation, Africa is a mess because of Western businesses, and the only solution is the virtuous gallantry of Western do-gooders 1.5/5
--Nicholas Schager (

external linkAt the same time, the film falls into another familiar and rather discouraging system, that of mass media representations. Much as Tessa and Justin work as characters (thanks to subtle performances by both actors), they are troubling as bits of the larger text.
--Cynthia Fuchs

external linkDon’t get me wrong: “The Constant Gardener” is a meatier proposition than most of the summer releases, and its curiosity toward the world is rare and unflagging. Think about it a day later, though, and its hectic swoop from romance to thriller to campaign manifesto leaves oddly little afterglow. The gardener is the only constant here; so much else burns up and blows away.
--Anthony Lane (The New Yorker)

external linkFiennes and Weisz's rapport, in the flashbacks and occasional fantasies punctuating Quayle's journey, is The Constant Gardener's major asset, and those scenes are its narrative core. They turn the movie from a conventional political tract to an emotionalrite of discovery.
--Jim Lane

external linkLike "The China Syndrome," "Silkwood" and "The Insider," it's a political thriller in the best sense of the term -- turning over crucial rocks, but engrossing the audience with the nail-biting process, not with what it finds underneath. 3/4
--Rob Blackwelder

external linkAnd this intelligent filmmaking lifts everything to an unexpectedly important level. In addition to being a gripping thriller and a stirring love story, the film highlights events and situations taking place right now--injustice that slips beneath the radar of public conscience.
--Rich Cline

external linkThe Constant Gardener is a thriller with plenty on its mind. It leaves us wondering how well we know the world around us, not to mention the people we love. It's appropriately unsettling. B+
--Robert Denerstein

external linkThis is an interesting, entertaining movie which is worth seeing. My advice is to close your mind to the ill-informed message about the usefulness of expired drugs and watch with a healthy skepticism of the main premise. 7/10
--Tony Medley (

 Directed by
Fernando Meirelles
City of God, Domésticas, Contra Todos
 Written by
Jeffrey Caine
Inside I'm Dancing, Dempsey & Makepeace: Hors de Combat, Dempsey & Makepeace: Judgement
Ralph Fiennes
Schindler's List, Red Dragon, The English Patient
Rachel Weisz
The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Constantine
Bill Nighy
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Underworld, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Pete Postlethwaite
The Usual Suspects, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Romeo + Juliet
Danny Huston
The Aviator, Children of Men, 21 Grams
 Music By
Alberto Iglesias
All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Volver

external linkOne of the most erotic - and politically charged - scenes in the film depends more on pauses than on language. "The Constant Gardener" is a rare find indeed; perhaps the best film of the year to date.
--Robert Glatzer

external linkYes, it is devastated by disease, poverty and harsh weather, but you can't see any of that when the camera soars over its deserts and savannahs. From that vantage point, all we can see is beauty.
external linkRalph Fiennes gives an Oscar-worthy portrayal, holding us with his quivering half-smile and his wounded eyes. Rachel Weisz may have an Oscar chance as well.
external linkThe cast is terrific, from the alluring Weisz to the great Fiennes.They have us caring about the outcome of the puzzle and them suspenseful resolution. This is one "Gardener" that's worth digging.
external linkThis movie is extremely well shot and edited, with a beautiful grainy look, dreamy over-exposed flashbacks, and a knack for matching the script's increasingly paranoid world with a filmic urgency that drives the story and keeps the viewer on edge. (Alliance Atlantis)
external linkThis is among the best films I have seen this year. It combines great writing, acting, and directing into a package which works on many levels and is satisfying on each one. This is one that is sure to be around come awards season.
--Chris Beaumont (



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